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The Path to a Perfect Prezi Story

Stories unfold in different ways. Whether in movies or presentations, some stories need to move in different directions to deliver its core message. For this week’s “Prezi Feature,” learn more about Prezi’s path tool to ensure that your presentation unfolds exactly how you want it to. 

How do you tell your presentation story? Most prefer a straightforward delivery of the facts. They introduce one element, and then move on to the next. The story is told in a neat and orderly sequence, which is simple and easy to follow. But what if your story begs to be told in a different way? How do you tell your story then?

Luckily, Prezi is a flexible presentation tool that allows you to stray off the beaten path of linear narration. Do you need to show the bigger picture? Or do you want to zoom in to show the details? Do you want to visualize how your project is similar to an uphill journey? Whatever the case, you can use the path tool to create your own transitions and reveal the elements of your presentation in a way that suits the story.

Here’s a closer look at the path tool, with some tips and tricks to help you out:

Connecting the dots

After arranging your content, it’s time to define the path of your prezi. Click on the Edit Path button at the bottom of the left sidebar, then start selecting frames in the order you want them to appear. It’s like playing “connect the dots.” You connect different elements together to create a complete and seamless picture.

Prezi Path Tool 01

If you make a mistake, you can simply re-arrange the frames on the sidebar. Just click on the thumbnail you want to move and drag it up or down the path. Likewise, if you want to remove a frame, just hover over the thumbnail and click the red X.

Prezi Path Tool 04

 

Presenting the full view

Aside from transitioning from frame to frame, you can also present the full view of your prezi. In other words, you get to show the “big picture.” This is helpful if you’re presenting a mind map, or if you’re using a particular visual metaphor to emphasize your message. As you edit the path, hover over the right side of the screen and click on the “home” button that appears.

Prezi Path Tool 03

When the entire prezi fills your screen, click on Add to current view and include it to your path.

Prezi Path Tool 06

 

Focusing on the details

To give your audience the entire story, you also need to zoom in and show the intricate details. Any object in your canvas can be added directly to the path. Add any text, image or video, even if they’re already inside a frame.

Prezi Path Tool 07

You can also add multiple elements at a time. All you need to do is group them together using an Invisible Frame before you edit the path. From the left sidebar, change frame type to Invisible and drag it over the objects you want to group. Simply drag the corners to resize the invisible frame and make everything fit.

Prezi Path Tool 08

 

The best way to illustrate how the path tool works is to see it in action. View this prezi, then observe how non-linear transitions can add a unique and interesting dimension to your presentation. The path tool gives you absolute freedom to create a full-bodied and intricate story.

So how do you tell your presentation story? Set the path and tell it in any way you like.

 

Reference

Jaffe, Eric. “The Remarkable Power Of Visual Metaphors To Make Us More Creative.” Co.Design. April 11, 2014. Accessed October 9, 2014.

 

Featured Image: Featured Image: Death to the Stock Photo / Prezi logo via Wikimedia Commons

Prezi Feature of the Week: Present the Big Picture with a Mind Map

When presenting, it’s important to show the big picture, as well as its minute details. For this week’s “Prezi Feature”, learn how you can create a mind map to do just that.

Ideas usually come to us in clusters, and it’s hard to separate one from the other. When we’re brainstorming, we can come up with a whole web of ideas from just a single concept. One idea will branch out to a new one, and two more will branch out from that. Before you know it, you have a complicated map of interlocking chains of thought. It’s usually chaotic, but it also perfectly shows how ideas are related to each other.

chaotic mind map sample
A chaotic end to brainstorming. (Image: Flickr/Tim Regan)

When it’s time to turn your ideas into a presentation deck, it can be hard to trim the big picture. Do you focus on a single line of thought? Which one? What happens when an idea overlaps with something else? How do you turn creative chaos into a neat, linear narrative? Sometimes, you don’t have to. Visualize how a single topic can branch out into a web of ideas by creating a mind map with Prezi.

Finding order in the chaos

The challenge to mind mapping is that complex topics can easily turn into a huge, dizzying mess. To create some order, you’ll need to practice a bit of discipline. Your main goal is to make sure your mind map remains concise, while keeping all the important details. In other words, you’ll need to do some revisions.

As you would when building a slide deck, start with an analogue approach. Grab a notepad and draft your mind map first. Start by writing down your main topic, and then let your ideas branch out across the page. Once you’ve written everything down, condense each idea into key concepts. This step is similar to how you’d create a presentation storyboard. Let the ideas flow freely first, and then edit out excessive and repetitive details.

Creating a mind map in the Prezi canvas

Once you’ve condensed your draft, it’s time to turn your ideas into a free-flowing presentation deck. Mind mapping involves combining colors, shapes, and images, plus the strategic arrangement of all these elements. Prezi is the perfect canvas for that. You’re free to move around each element and create a layout that suits the flow of your ideas. To accurately visualize your topic, take note of these tips when arranging your mind map:

1.) Use different frame types to organize your mind map
prezi mind map tutorial 01

You can make use of different frame types to show how your ideas progress into different “levels”. In this example, the main topic is contained inside a rectangle frame. The two diverging ideas that branch out from there are inside a circle frame.

2.) Create hierarchy by manipulating frame size and changing arrow width
prezi mind map tutorial 02

You can also represent  hierarchy in your mind map by manipulating the size of your frames. The farther you are from the center, the smaller your frames should be. Do the same thing with your arrows. Decrease thickness as you branch out across the canvas.

3.) Group specific parts or branches with an invisible frame
prezi mind map tutorial 03

prezi mind map tutorial 04

Add an invisible frame to group certain parts of your mind map together. This is useful if you want to focus on a specific branch before discussing each idea.

4.) Set the path carefully
prezi mind map tutorial 06

The final look will depend on how you set the path. Once you’ve completed building the mind map, set a path that will allow the audience to see how everything works together. Give the full view at the start of your presentation, then make use of the zoom tool to focus on specific details. To illustrate, click here to view a mind map of a previous blog post called “3 Ways to Creativity“.

Conclusion

The flexibility of Prezi’s canvas allows you to create presentations that defy the usual one-track narratives. You can present the big picture and pan through the entire landscape.

Show your audience how the core message relates to your main points by creating a mind map.

 

Featured Image: Featured Image: Death to the Stock Photo / Prezi logo via Wikimedia Commons

Prezi Feature of the Week: Getting Started

PowerPoint remains the default choice for most business settings. But if you want something new for your next big presentation, Prezi is a great place to start.

Prezi gives you the freedom to structure your presentation as you see fit. Instead of asking you to work on a progression of slides, Prezi gives you a canvas where you can lay out your content. This spaces allows you to organize your ideas in any way you want. You don’t have to think of your presentation in terms of moving from point  A to Z. Your presentation can go from A to B, return to A, and then skip to F.

With Prezi, you get to visualize the big picture and then zoom into the specifics as you deliver your presentation. Because of this flexibility, Prezi can be intimidating for beginners. If you feel like the blank canvas is going to swallow you whole, try starting from the basics:

1.) Templates

When you first make a new Prezi, you can choose to start from a blank canvas or work with a template. By using a template, Prezi automatically constructs how the different objects will look on the canvas. All you have to do is add your own content.

prezi template 02

Prezi has plenty of unique designs that can work as a visual metaphor for your presentation. If you’re having trouble imagining how yours should look, use the search box to find suggestions that are perfect for the topic you’re covering.

prezi template 03

2.) Frames and Layouts

If you’d rather build your Prezi from scratch, you’ll need to learn how to use frames. Basically, frames work in the same way as slides. They’re placeholders for your content, allowing you to organize your ideas. You can think of them as Lego pieces you have to arrange and put together to build a whole structure.

There are four different frame types—circle, bracket, rectangle or invisible. Just click on the + icon above the left sidebar and drag the frame into your canvas.

prezi frames

Rotate, scale, and move the frames to build the structure you have in mind. You can also make use of layouts to add frames with placeholders you can edit. If you don’t want to bother with arranging frames in a specific way, you can choose from the Multi-Frame Layouts available.

prezi layouts

3.) Path

Whether you’re using a template or starting from scratch, the path tool is a crucial part of the Prezi-making process. A path will define how your presentation will transition from one frame to the next. You have the freedom to move across the canvas however you like.

Once all your frames are set, click on the Edit Path button at the bottom of the left sidebar. On your canvas, select objects in the order you want them to appear. Add Current View can also help you transition to the view that’s currently filling your screen.

prezi path
It’s never easy to try something new for the first time. With some patience and creativity, you will easily find your footing. Prezi can be a little confusing for beginners, so familiarize yourself with these three basic features. Next week, we’ll take a closer look at other Prezi features to help you become a pro.

 

Featured Image: Death to the Stock Photo / Prezi logo via Wikimedia Commons

Presentation Software Showdown: PowerPoint vs. Prezi

There are plenty of presentation software to choose from, but PowerPoint remains to be the top choice for most people. (Including you!) It’s been around since the 90s, and you’ve grown familiar with its classic and user-friendly interface. Still, you feel like trying something new for your next presentation, and you heard that Prezi is a great alternative.

Like PowerPoint, Prezi is a presentation software that allows you to create and design slideshows. But instead of the all-too-familiar templates and linear slide layouts, it gives you nifty animations and non-linear slide transitions.

You know that good presentation design can make a positive impact on audience participation. So, do you make the full transition to Prezi from PowerPoint? Before you decide, we’ve gone through some things you should know about these two presentation programs.

The Defending Presentation Software Champion: PowerPoint

PowerPoint vs Prezi

You might have come across the term “Death by PowerPoint”. You might have even experienced it yourself when you had to sit through a PowerPoint presentation that seemed to last for hours. But as we’ve made clear previously, this isn’t the fault of the software program.

If you learn the many tools and functions of PowerPoint, you’ll see why 500 million users patronize it. PowerPoint offers plenty of opportunity for you to be creative with your presentation design. You can customize templates, edit images, and use SmartArt graphics to easily present data.

The Presentation Software Underdog: Prezi

PowerPoint vs Prezi

When it comes to managing the content of your presentation, Prezi isn’t all that different from PowerPoint. You can easily add text, images, videos, and animations. What truly attracts users to this presentation software is the zooming animation.

Instead of asking you to work on a progression of slides, Prezi gives you a big canvas where you can layout different ideas. When viewing the finished product, your audience seamlessly flows from the bigger picture into the specifics of your presentation. This zooming action adds an interesting visual dimension.

Another upside to using Prezi is the fact that it’s a cloud-based program. You can make presentations as long as you have an internet connection.

The Verdict

Effective and engaging presentations are made by people, not the presentation software they choose to use. Whether you decide to use PowerPoint or Prezi depends on your content and who your audience is.

When Does PowerPoint win?
Make use of PowerPoint if you’re presenting a simple and linear story. It’s also useful if you’re going to add a lot of quantitative data in your presentations. Because of its more classic feel, it will work best for presentations in more formal settings, such as business meetings and academic lectures.

When Does Prezi Win?
Prezi is perfect for presentations that need to be visually engaging. Utilize its zooming animation to show how parts of your presentation correlate, and if you want to move freely from one part to another. Because its design is non-traditional, using Prezi is perfect for presentations in casual settings. However, you should also consider the fact that it makes use of animations that may cause motion sickness to some people.

Whatever you decide to choose between these 2 presentation software, just keep in mind that effective presentation design is up to you.

 

Featured Image: Angelo DeSantis via Flickr